If you’ve longed to wrap your hands around a custom-made 1911 but figured it might be beyond your price range, Alchemy Custom Weaponry could be an answer worth investigating.
Don’t be put off by the unfamiliar name. While it’s true that Alchemy is a relative newcomer to the firearm manufacturing world, master gunsmith Rob Schauland has been around longer, putting in time with noted gun makers. But he wanted more control over the process, so he branched out.
And, based solely on his name recognition and reputation, he got orders after his prototypes (shown in the picture; the production models have a more finished look) hit the scene. But it’s tough for an independent to make headway in the established firearm industry. That business fact gave Rob Bianchin, president of Cabot Guns, the opening he needed to bring Schauland’s talent to his team in 2016 while allowing the gunsmith some of the independence he wanted. Cabot Guns bought Alchemy, but lets it maintain its own identity.
Schauland oversees three styles of 1911, in the full-size (ACW Prime), officer (ACW Brimstone) and commander (ACW Anomaly) sizes. The MSRPs range from $2,595 to $2,995.
In summing up his offerings, Schauland says: “The ergonomics are current and the insides are upgraded, but it’s a 1911 at heart,” adding that he tries to stay as true to John Browning’s original design as possible.
While production is limited to a couple of hundred guns a year right now, Schauland and Bianchin showcased them at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in January and brought some to a more recent writers’ conference for firing.
“We acquired Alchemy Custom Weaponry in 2016 for the purpose of bringing legendary 1911 gunsmith Rob Schauland into the Cabot family,” said Bianchin. “The construction approach of the ACW pistols is quite distinct from Cabot Guns. It uses the time-honored method of traditional hand fitting and artisan gunsmithing techniques. The pistols are hand crafted at our facility by elite gunsmiths and each model is designed by Rob Schauland himself.”
The company boasts an accuracy guarantee of 1 inch at 25 yards, and while this writer’s shooting isn’t at a level to challenge that guarantee, suffice to say Alchemy offers a fine-shooting product line that feels good in the hand and is put together with exacting precision.
Check back here or to the NRA sister publications in the coming weeks for a more complete report of more rigorous testing and evaluation.